College – Who Pays?

Do you remember a commercial recently where a girl is happy and excited after opening her acceptance letter from her college of choice?  Her father’s face fills with fear and you can almost see the pupils of his eyes turn into dollar signs.  For any of us, myself included, who have not saved nearly enough for our children’s education we can easily relate to that father in the commercial.

Consider this though – we can all reduce that fear by at least half with a heart to heart conversation with our children.  “How’s that?” you ask.  Well, put half the burden of that education on the one who will benefit most from the degree.  Tell your kids they have to find a way to pay for half of their college education.  That won’t mean every kid will have to postpone their education to work and save.  Kids can foot the bill any number of ways:

  • Make really good grades to earn scholarships.
  • Enroll in dual enrollment classes the last two years of high school – earn college credits for next to nothing while earning high school credits.  Some kids finish high school with one or two years of college behind them.
  • Go to community college for the first two years then transfer to the college they really want a degree from.  Just make sure to check with the school of choice to see if all the credits earned locally can be transferred.
  • Then there is the old-fashioned way…work and earn the money while in high school.  Unless your kid is a dedicated saver, this may be the most difficult way for them to pay their way.  However, it is also the easiest way to build experience and a resume that will make their job search easier once they have that degree in hand.

Don’t feel guilty about not paying for all four years for your children.  They have to learn to stand on their own two feet at some point in life.  Eighteen is good time for that – don’t you agree?  Besides, things and experiences we earn mean so much more than things that are given to us.  If they have skin in the game, they are less likely to make foolish mistakes like partying too much and studying too little.

Please share some of your personal stories about how you or your kids paid for college.  Let a comment here or drop me a line at


About boyonabudget

Did you graduate from high school or college and wonder why you never took a class on balancing your checkbook, building a household budget or stretching your paycheck from one week to the next? I bet most of us asked ourselves that at some point soon after getting out in the real world on our own. Well we can’t go back and ask for a do-over. But we can help our kids avoid that question. Let’s teach them now while they are still living at home and have the Mom and/or Dad safety net to catch them when they fall. I have eighteen years of marketing (print, web and broker) experience with the number one health insurer in America. That is how I pay the bills. Being a mom, writing a book and blogging is how I feed my creativity. I’m writing a guide for teaching kids to manage money wisely. If the adults learn a thing or two along the way, that’s all the better. Join me on a journey to financial freedom!
This entry was posted in budget, Family finances, Financial Planning, Goals, Money, Retirement Planning. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to College – Who Pays?

  1. Seashell says:

    I worked my way through college. My parents never told me they couldn’t afford to help until I was accepted at the school I wanted to attend. Needless to say, I went to work full time and attended community college in the evenings, then transferred to a four year school. It took quite a while to finish. I never did go to the school I wanted to, but I learned a lot financially by having to pay for it all myself.

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